Monday, July 13, 2009

Books for the trip

No road trip would be complete without some good books to help the miles pass by. Here are some books our family enjoyed the last couple weeks during our travels and while relaxing in Colorado:

Fodor's Essential USA, 1st Edition: Spectacular Cities, Natural Wonders, and Great American Road Trips. Though this travel guide covers all 50 states, it was a great reference for the 6 states we traveled through. Some of our decisions on what attractions to visit came right out of this book. One feature I really liked was the suggested itinerary, depending on how many days you would be in an area: one day, two days, or even up to a whole week. While far from exhaustive, it's a great overview of our country's natural wonders and man-made attractions.

Frommer's Colorado. This book helped us navigate the Colorado Springs and Denver area during our stay with my parents, and during our two day retreat in Monument/Denver.

Russell Hitt, Sensei: The Life Story of Irene Webster-Smith. Natalie read this to me in the car on several of our travel days. A well-written story about a bold missionary to the young geisha girls of Japan in the early 20th century. We're about half way through the book.

C.J. Mahaney (ed.), Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. A wake-up call to deny ungodliness and wordly lusts in areas like media, music, clothing, materialism. I especially enjoyed Jeff Purswell's chapter on how we should love the world. Natalie noted this was a very appropriate book to be reading as we drove through Vegas.

Alva McClain, Greatness of the Kingdom. I've just begun reading this book in preparation for an upcoming series I will be preaching on the kingdom of God. McClain is clear and balanced. It's an excellent biblical theology on the complex subject of the kingdom of God.

Douglas Wilson, Future Men. This was a though-provoking guide on training up boys and young men in biblical masculinity. Drawing heavily from the Proverbs, his observations of our culture, and his own experience as a father, Wilson gives much fresh and practical teaching on the subject.

Ron Fontes and Justine Korman, Davy Crockett Meets Death Hug. Speaking of raising future men, here's a great book we're reading with our son Dylan about Davy Crockett and his friend Georgie hunting a ferocious bear.

Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Together. A collection of well-illustrated short stories about Toad and his adventures with Mr. Frog.

Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward. Natalie started reading this on the trip, so I asked her to write a description [she apologizes for making it so long, but she highly recommends the book!]. Written by the author of the beloved hymn, More Love to Thee, O Christ, this fictional "diary" is the account of young Katherine's journey toward Christlikeness. Through it all, we are pointed to love Christ more as we follow our new friend on her journey heavenward. It takes us though Katy's teenage years during which she struggles to understand if she truly loves Christ as her Savior. We watch as she strives to overcome her daily sinfulness, finally realizing that just as Christ saved her, only He can grant Katy holiness. We listen in as she shares her frustrations with a path God has given her and the mentors who point her to the good God may have even during times of great trials. For example, Mrs. Campbell (who has outlived her husband and children, and now endures great physical suffering) tells Katy the following on page 212:

"I was bound to my God and Savior before I knew a sorrow, it is true. But it was by a chain of many links; and every link that dropped away brought me to Him till at last, having nothing left, I was shut up to Him and learned fully what I had only learned partially, how soul-satisfying He is."

"You think then,"I said while my heart died within me, "that husband and children are obstacles in our way and hinder our getting near to Christ?"

"Oh, no!" she cried. "God never gives us hindrances. On the contrary, He means, in making us wives and mothers, to put us into the very conditions of holy living. But if we abuse His gifts by letting them take His place in our hearts, it is an act of love on His part to take them away or to destroy our pleasure in them. It is delightful," she added after a pause, "to know that there are some generous souls on earth who love their dear ones with all their hearts yet give those hearts unreservedly to Christ. Mine was not one of them."

7 comments:

Steve said...

You might find the following blogs of interest about C.J. Mahaney and the group he leads:

http://www.sgmsurvivors.com
http://www.sgmrefuge.com

Hope this helps.

Stephen Jones said...

Steve, will you be sending this comment every time I mention Mahaney's name on my blog? Surely this method of spreading slander is not honoring to Christ.

I would encourage you to re-visit our discussion in my previous post http://desertchronicle.blogspot.com/2009/04/next-best-thing-to-being-in-chicago.html

Steve said...

Stephen

I am not sure why you are referring me to your past discussion when you didn't answer my last question/comment there.

Doesn't Scripture talk about "telling it to the church?" If abuse is going on within Mahaney's group Sovereign Grace Ministries people need to know. I don't consider this slander. It is reporting of people's experiences which a lot are not positive.

McC Family said...

Steve,

You may have missed a few steps of Jesus teaching on church discipline. I hope that you have investigated each case to find out the other side of each story. After reading the reports on your site, I notice that none of them have a respone from the pastoral leadership at CLC. Why? Is it because the stories that these people are telling are so heart breaking that they must be without any mixture of error?

Lets say that you have two people arguing about a situation, one comes to you to tell you what the other person has done to them and how hurtful it was that "so and so did this." Would you personally stop there? Do you not know that God's wisdom covers both stories, not just one side of the story before a judgment is determined? That would be like reading the bible in its literary context and not studying the historical context. You would not be able to accurately handle the word of God. You would misinterpret the whole passage.

I think you need to examine the claims of these people if you are truly going to be able to "tell it to the church". You are ripping these stories out of context, taking there word at face value, and disobeying scripture.

If you want to be of benefit to CJ and love your brother, you need to set up a meeting with him and discuss it before you go plastering these reports all over the internet because you will be held accountable for not investigating these claims.

You may want to respond that I am going to be held accountable, but I am not the one claiming that CJ is having this problem. I would recommend closing your blog(s) and getting all your facts straight before you repost anything.

I appreciate your concern, but your concern has lead to spreading information that you obviously do not fully comprehend.

Marty

Steve said...

McCFamily

I certainly know there are more steps than just "first telling it to the church." A lot of people on the blogs I mentioned report trying to confront SGM Leadership on past incidents and these leaders many times rather than addressing what was presented. These leaders would tell the member presenting their issue that the member had attitude problems etc.

I do understand that there are two sides to the story. Both blogs are open where SGM could share their side of the story. So far they haven't. Again, there are so many stories shared by people from a number of SGM Churches that makes it hard to believe there is no truth to all that is being reported.

One notable case is that of Debra Baker being "excommunicated" from the Philadelphia Church. If you go to Wikapedia you can read an account of this either under Covenant Fellowship Church or Sovereign Grace Ministries. From what I have seen, despite how questionable this woman's "excommunciation" was, SGM has not done a reexamination of this etc.

You seem to think that these are my blogs. Neither of the blogs I shared above are mine and I don't control what is on them. One thing you might interesting with the sgmsurvivors blog is that the person who started this blog came upon this almost by accident. She posted a few comments and then was suddenly deluged by numerous comments by people sharing their bad experiences with the group.

These blogs have provide healing for a number of people hurt by SGM.

I do hope that SGM does some soul searching on what is being reported on these blogs. Sadly, from what I have seen so far, I don't see SGM doing that.

C.J. Mahaney may speak a good game but what one hears being reported in his organization shows a different fruit. As long as you stay away from his group then you might be OK.

Stephen Jones said...

Steve,

These may not be your blogs, and you may not maintain them, but by leaving their links on random blogs like mine, you are strongly endorsing them and are responsible for people reading the content. From a glance of SGMSurvivors, I get the impression people want an outlet to complain together about how they were treated, express disagreement with Calvinism, biblical complementarianism, etc. There were even SGM Survivor "goodies" on sale like tshirts and mugs. Are you kidding me? This is so unhealthy and the very reason Christ gave clear commands on the proper process of dealing with sin.

I'm glad you brought up Matthew 18. Please realize, the blogosphere and internet are not "the church," or to take the place of the church. Blogs are read by both believers and unbelievers all over the world and are not the place to be discussing these kinds of issues. There is no accountability and no way to verify facts.

If you have not personally been "wronged", then you are relying on hearsay. This is the very thing Matthew 18 and 1 Timothy 5:19 warn against. Your recommended sites may contain dainty morsels of complaint that stir up thoughts of conspiracy, but you have no business being involved. No one has wronged you, and you have no biblical precedent for passing information on to others. It would be best to go back and delete all comments you have left in past blog sites to undo the damage you have already done.

As Jesus says, if a person has a serious problem they should go to the person in private, then semi-private, and then bring it to the church. The last step, of course, is to treat them as an unbeliever. If (theoretically), a church does not listen to the accusation, or if the leadership team are in fact the very cause and nature of the problem, then a church member's responsibility is to humbly pray and quietly leave the church. There is never justification for causing a big huff, signing petitions, starting recovery blogs, and bringing division to the body of Christ. This is not being a peacemaker (Mt 5:9). This is not being diligent to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3). This is not edifying (Eph. 5:29). This is not honoring God-given authority (Heb. 13:17). This is not dwelling on what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good report (Phil. 4:8). This is not love, which refuses to take an account of wrong suffered (1 Cor. 13:5). To the contrary, this is rejoicing in unrighteousness (1 Cor. 13:6).

My original post did not even deal directly with Covenant Fellowship or Sovereign Grace Ministries. It was a passing reference to a good book edited by Mahaney and others. This is hardly reason for you to leave a link condemning SGM.

Please go to the Lord, search the Scriptures, and examine your heart over these issues. We are called to put aside all anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. (Col. 3:8) The sinful approach of these websites causes me to strongly question the truth of all claims they are making.

David Squyres said...

Stephen,

Wow, that's a lot of books in one car! Did you have room for the kids? I'm glad you're wife is able to read while you drive -- Becca does the same. We have read everything from commentaries on while driving.

Blessings,
David